After a number of “rough years, things are turning around this year” for dairy operators, said Michael Marsh, chief executive officer for Western United Dairymen.

Dairy operators are getting some of the best prices in years, he said, adding butter, fluid milk and cheese prices are all up, thanks to an increase in exports.

 

 

“Around the world, there is more demand than supply,” Marsh said. He said 15.6 percent of all milk produced in the United States with a value of almost $7 billion is exported.

The prices paid dairy operators is helping to compensate for a spike in feed costs due to the drought.

• Three awards were presented at the conference:

They included a Special Recognition Award given to Harry Cline, who has spent more than 40 years writing articles on California agriculture. Cline was editor of Western Farm Press for more than 30 years and was well respected for his frank commentaries on major issues impacting agriculture. He also created and directed Farm Press University, the online educational division of Farm Press-Penton. He retired Dec. 31, 2013.

The 2014 President’s Award went to brothers Mark and Ross Borba, third generation west side farmers who grow various row crops and almonds. They were early users of GPS technology and have served on various industry boards and on boards of their local school district.

The 2014 Distinguished California Agriculturalist award was presented to Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. He is a third generation farmer in Modesto who grows almonds and walnuts. He has expanded the operation to include processing of the nuts through his Wood Colony Nut Co.

 

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